A review of Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa…
Book: Fans of The Impossible Life
Author: Kate Scelsa
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ+
Age Recommendation: 16+
Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition
“I know you think that we saved you or something, Jeremy,” he said. “That we were stronger than you. But we’re not. We weren’t. We’re all just trying to survive however we can.”
Description from Goodreads:
Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.
Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting him.
Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.
As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.
(*This review contains minor spoilers*)
Over the Summer, I heard lots of great comments about Fans of The Impossible Life. When somebody compared it to my favourite novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I just had to give it a read. So, I started this book with an open heart but maybe not such an open mind. I was simply prepared to love it. I enjoyed it, but my expectations were certainly too high…
Fans of The Impossible Life is written from 3 points of view. The view of Jeremy, Mira and Sebby. I hoped this would help me get to know all 3 of the main characters but sadly I struggled to connect with any of them. Maybe this was something to do with the constant change between 1st, 2nd and 3rd person? It felt too choppy and honestly made reading it feel a little bit stressful. I felt really disconnected from all three of them, especially Sebby. Jeremy and Mira adore Sebby and, unfortunately, I just couldn’t feel the same way. I do, however, wonder if this was on purpose. After all, Sebby as a character is very disconnected from everyone. Either way, it’s really important to me that I can connect with a protagonist and when I don’t, it makes a book difficult to read.
Fans of the Impossible Life bears some similarities to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s almost the story of a boy who, due to a recent incident, has been isolated. He finds comfort in his new friends and has a close relationship with his English teacher. For me, this was sometimes a problem because I’d spend more time making comparisons than actually enjoying the story. Again, maybe that is my own fault? Perhaps if you haven’t read Perks quite recently you might enjoy it more.
Aside from this, I do think that Kate Scelsa did a great job in including such a diverse range of characters and themes. Fans gives a realistic insight into living with mental health issues, drug addiction, mixed race families, sexuality, having gay parents and living in foster care. In this sense, I think the book is quite important. It deals with issues that not many young adult authors write about.
Overall, I finished the book feeling as if the only difference to the start of the story was that they had become more co-dependent on each other for survival. The book also seemed to leave me with a lot of questions about a few of the plot points. What happened with Rose and Ali? Is Talia going to face some sort of punishment? Is Peter okay? I understand a book being a little bit open-ended, but it almost made some of the subplots seem a bit unnecessary if they weren’t going to be resolved. After struggling to connect with the characters, I’m not sure if I would read Fans again. However, I did enjoy the wide variety of themes and I am happy that I gave it a read.